“Our dietary choices play a major role in determining whether we are going to live into our 80s and 90s and even beyond with a good, functioning brain, or like 50% of people who live to be age 85, we will experience brain decline in the form of Alzheimer's which is a preventable disease.”- Dr. David Perlmutter
When we think about brain health, we don't think that our gut has anything to do with it. However, the fact is that the gut and free radicals have everything to do with how our brains function as we grow older.
Neurologist and New York Times Best Selling Author, Dr. David Perlmutter has witnessed the damaging effects that a poor diet can have on our brains. Today is perfect timing with the launch of his new book, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, as he shares why we are vulnerable to develop brain degenerative disease and how we can take matters into our own hands in order to live long, healthy lives with a bright mind that is free of illness.
Make the Choice to Have a Healthy Brain
Even if a relative of yours was diagnosed with a brain degenerative disease such as Alzheimer's, you have the amazing opportunity to make lifestyle choices to ensure your brain's health.
Factors such as sleep, nutrition, stress levels, free radicals and exercise can impact your health, but you can also take advantage of them to improve your wellness and lower the chances of brain decline.
Connecting Wellness And Gut Health
“It's a bit humbling to recognize that mood is regulated by our gut. Not only through the process of controlling inflammation, which is a cornerstone player in depression, but that around 90% of our levels of dopamine and serotonin are not manufactured in the brain. They're mostly manufactured in the gut.” – Dr. David Perlmutter
Approximately 90% of the human body's total serotonin is located in the GI tract, where it is used to regulate intestinal movements.
If the gut is leaky and we lack serotonin, it can be linked to feelings of depression. In a study with probiotic yogurt, researchers found a dramatic change in brain function and mood in the test subjects that ate the yogurt compared to those who did not.
Build a Healthy Gut
At this moment, there is a diverse community of healthy, gut bacteria living inside of us. If any harm comes our gut's way, it can increase the chances of having a leaky gut. This leaky gut can lead to inflammation and degenerative diseases including:
- Multiple Sclerosis
The right way to eat food, is to focus on following a diet that helps reduce the chance of a leaky gut and inflammation from happening inside the body.
Do You Have a Leaky Gut?
In today's world, we should assume that it is likely that we all have somewhat of a leaky gut. We would have to take a test or participate in a study to know for sure by having an LPS level done in a lab.
There's a higher chance that you have a leaky gut if you have an inflammatory condition such as:
- Early onset Parkinson's
- Joint issues
- Skin inflammation
What can you do to heal your leaky gut?
To help heal your gut, remove any offensive agents that may be harming it such as any overuse of:
- Over production of free radicals
- Drinking chlorinated water
- Artificial sugars and sweeteners
- Acid blocking drugs
- Proton pump inhibitors
- Non-steroid and anti-inflammatory drugs
To heal our gut, we need to stimulate and increase the diversity of the organisms that live inside of the gut by exercising and eating foods that are rich in pre-biotic fiber that helps nurture our gut bacteria:
- Mexican yam/ jicamo
- Dandelion greens
- Fermented vegetables
The Truth About Sugar and Gluten
“Inflammation caused by sugar consumption can lead to diabetes and quadruples your chances for Alzheimer's Disease.” – Dr. David Perlmutter
Healthy fat is good for both the body and brain function, but gluten and sugar (including artificial sugar and sweeteners) can cause our insulin levels to spike which leads to inflammation in the body.
In fact, according to Dr. Perlmutter, artificial sweeteners were created to help people control the amount of sugars in their diet, but still be able to taste something sweet. Unfortunately, artificial sugars and sweeteners can dramatically increase a person's risk for obesity and diabetes.
Take your health into your own hands by making good choices and eating foods that minimize free radicals. Eat healthy and avoid any sugary drinks, high gluten foods, and anything labeled “sugar free” or “contains artificial sugars.”
The Best Sources of Healthy Fat
There's a lot of taboo hanging around the words, “fat” and “fatty food.” However, healthy sources of fat are great for our bodies and important for our brain's health.
According to Dr. Perlmutter, the brain is already made up of a lot of saturated fat and even human breast milk is 50% saturated fat. If you want to ensure that you follow a healthy diet, use the Ketogenic and Mediterranean diets as a good model to follow.
The best sources of healthy fats include:
- Extra virgin olive oil (organic)
- Fatty fish with DHA
- Grass-fed and free-range meat
Olive oil particularly is good source of polyphenols that act as antioxidants and nurture the gut bacteria. This source of healthy fat provides both mono and unsaturated fats for our brain cell building blacks.
When you follow a Ketogenic or Mediterranean based diet, but add extra amounts of olive or cocnut oil, your cognitive function can improve dramatically.
A Diet to Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease
To better understand your body and gene makeup, there are numerous services available from companies that offer biometrics tests including:
The sooner you better understand your genes and if there is a chance for you to have an inflammatory disease, the sooner you can take action to fight against it.
Depending on our dietary fat composition, there is a risk of dementia or Alzheimer's Disease, but it can be handled by following a diet that includes food that is high in healthy fats.
As mentioned before, we should be eating more nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado. Monosaturated fats such as almond oil, almond butter/nut butter, an oleic acid in sunflower oil can help prevent degenerative brain disease.
However, we should avoid canola oil, vegetable oil, corn oil and other modified oils in our diets. These are the unhealthy oils that can lead to excess free radicals, and harm our body and brain function.
Build a Healthy Brain with Aerobics
If you want to build a healthy brain, change your diet, but also increase the amount of aerobic exercise. Working out helps to turn on BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which serves as a growth hormone for the brain and helps increase the number of memory cells throughout our lifetime.
People who exercise regularly can reduce their chances for Alzheimer's Disease by 50%!
One of the best things you can do to help your brain stay healthy is to include aerobic exercise for 20 minutes every day.
6 Key Factors For a Whole Life Plan
According to Dr. Perlmutter, there are 6 key factors and goals that take place in creating a whole life plan for a healthy brain and gut:
- Reducing and controlling inflammation
- Turning the body into a fat burning machine
- Balancing levels of bacteria
- Balancing hormones and increasing leptin sensitivity
- Taking care of our genes
- Balancing our life
About Dr. David Perlmutter
Dr. Perlmuter is a Neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition who received his M.D. degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine where he was awarded the Leonard G. Rowntree Research Award.
He is the author of: The Better Brain Book and the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Grain Brain, and Brain Maker, also a New York Times best seller. He is recognized internationally as a leader in the field of nutritional influences in neurological disorders.
Over the past 35 years, Dr. Perlmutter has been interviewed on many nationally syndicated radio and television programs including 20/20, Larry King Live, CNN, Fox News, Fox and Friends, The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Like with Kelly and Michael, Montel Across America and The CBS Early Show.
The cornerstone of Dr. Perlmutter’s unique approach to neurological disorders is founded in the principles of preventive medicine. He has brought to the public awareness a rich understanding that challenging brain problems including Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, depression, and ADHD may very well be prevented with lifestyle changes including a gluten free, low carbohydrate, higher fat diet coupled with aerobic exercise.
Resources From The Show
- Dr. David Perlmutter's official website
- Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, MD
- Brain Maker by David Perlmutter, MD
- Order Dr. David Perlmutter's latest book, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan
- Dr. Perlmutter's YouTube Site
- The Benefits of Eggs for Athletes — Cholesterol, Nutrition, and The Healthiest Way to Cook
- Healthy Gut Bacteria – Diversity is the Key by Dr. David Perlmutter
- An Ideal Breakfast according to Dr. Perlmutter
- Dr. Oz interview-The 3-Day Plan to Digest Carbs You Want Without Gaining Weight
- NY Times article: How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat
- Dr. Axe-6 Inulin Fiber Benefits, Uses and Surprising Facts
- Body Ecology- The 6 Benefits of Monounsaturated Fats (MUFAs)
- The Fats of Life: Essential Fatty Acids in Health and Disease by Professor Glen D. Lawrence
- Journal of Medical Association-Mediterranean Diet and Age-Related Cognitive Decline
- Perfect Supplement's Adaptogen Rhodiola Rosea
- Different Kinds of Physical Activity Shown to Improve Brain Volume and Cut Alzheimer’s Risk in Half by Cyrus A. Raji, MD, PhD
- Wellness FX
- The China Study by Thomas Campbell and T. Colin Campbell
- Changing gut bacteria through diet affects brain function, UCLA study shows
- The Mind-Gut Connection by Emeran Mayer
- The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, MD and Dr. Emeran Mayer
- Dr. John Cryan on TEDMED
What You'll Hear On The Show
- [1:50] Josh discusses today's show topics and David's biography
- [3:00] Introduction to David
- [6:00] What's something fun about Dr. Perlmutter?
- [6:45] Why did you become a physician neurologist?
- [12:00] What is your message for Alzheimer's and other brain decline diseases?
- [14:30] The Grain Brain and Brain Maker books: Learn more about the link between food and the brain.
- [17:50] Grain Brain Whole Life Plan: What led you to write this book?
- [20:40] Why is your new book focused on 6 key factors: inflammation, burning fat, bacteria levels, hormones & leptin, genes, and balancing our life
- [25:00] What are the 3 best sources of fats available?
- [29:00] Why is inflammation at its highest right now? Can we remove anything from our diets? How can people use your program for wellness?
- [35:00] What is the Grain Brain Whole Life Plan? How can we make the most out of this plan?
- [36:50] Perfect Supplement's Adaptogen Rhodiola and the Wellness Bundle Rosea
- [38:00] The power of exercise for a healthy brain and preventing Alzheimer's disease
- [41:00] What is APOE and how is it related to Alzheimer's disease?
- [43:20] Monosaturated fats: What other ways can someone who is prone to Alzheimer's follow a healthy fat diet?
- [51:25] The link between gut health, food, and depression
- [56:10] What's the connection between our emotions being created in the gut? Why not the brain?
- [58:35] How does someone know if they have an issue with a leaky gut?
- [1:03:30] 7 for 7 round with David and Josh
- [1:06:00] David's message about finding gratitude in life
- [1:10:00] David's definition of wellness
- [1:12:10] Takeaways from today's show
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About The Author, Lauren Bryant, Podcast Production
Lauren Bryant is the Podcasting Assistant and Show Notes Writer for Wellness Force Radio. She has a BBA in both Marketing and Spanish for Business as well as certificates in Advanced Business Communications and International Business from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.
Lauren’s wellness journey began at a young age when she joined her local YMCA swim team, The Wave, of La Crosse, WI. One of the most profound views on wellness that anyone has said to her was when she was an assistant swim coach for that same YMCA swim team.
One day during a practice, former head swim coach, Jon Brenner, shared with her that the most important thing about coaching the swimmers was that “It doesn’t matter if they become the best athletes in the world. What’s important is that we give them the tools and guidance they need to live a healthy, active lifestyle for the rest of their lives.”
Since hearing those words, she has taken it to heart to not only focus on continuously living her own healthy lifestyle, but to help others pursue their wellness goals as well.
Lauren is not only an avid swimmer, but a fan of running, yoga, cooking, and doing any activity outside that involves being surrounded by nature. In the Fall of 2014, she completed a long-awaited goal of walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
According to Lauren, wellness is about finding gratitude and joy in doing any type of physical or self-care activity that we love. Wellness means providing ourselves with self-love, good nutrition, and the inner peace that our individual minds and bodies need.